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Burke Hansen

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Bush-authored warrantless wiretapping suffers abrupt defeat

The last of the US warrantless wiretapping cases has come to a rather surprising and abrupt finish. Judge Vaughn Walker hearing the case formerly known as Al-Haramain vs Bush has ruled for the plaintiffs and against the US government on a motion for summary judgment, essentially telling the government it had no case. This …
Burke Hansen, 02 Apr 2010
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Dubya surveillance exceeded warrantless wiretaps

As yet unrevealed domestic intelligence activities by the Bush administration sent shock waves through Washington on Friday, as a report critical of post-9/11 US surveillance programs capped a week of increasingly acrimonious debate in the American capital about Bush-era policies. Disconcerting reports of abuses by the …
Burke Hansen, 13 Jul 2009
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US gov ordered to play ball in state secrets case

"This is a lawsuit, not a career, Mr. Coppolino," a rather exasperated Judge Vaughn Walker explained in court today, chiding the lead counsel for the Justice Department, Anthony Coppolino, as Mr. Coppolino's stony-faced counterpart from the National Security Agency, Timothy Stinson, sat silently at his side. Why obey court …
Burke Hansen, 04 Jun 2009
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Torture case against Boeing subsidiary resuscitated

In a ruling sure to fan the flames of controversy over Bush-era torture policies, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals this week strongly repudiated the Bush and Obama administrations’ arguments of a broad reading of the so-called "state secrets" doctrine, which the Bush administration in particular had used to smother potentially …
Burke Hansen, 30 Apr 2009
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Bush-era NSA wiretap violations exposed

The New York Times has broken the latest news in the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping odyssey: that the NSA has been routinely scanning American communications at a rate far beyond what had been envisioned by Congress when the telecoms immunity and FISA wiretapping revisions passed last summer. Even more …
Burke Hansen, 16 Apr 2009
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Google antitrust suit: Is there a case?

Should Google be allowed to skew sponsored ads toward favored business partners? At face value, the answer would seem to be "Yes." In a free market, after all, businesses are allowed to partner with whomever they want, and advertising hardly seems to be the kind of industry susceptible to monopolistic profiteering. Of course, …
Burke Hansen, 20 Feb 2009
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NSA whistleblower: Warrantless wiretaps targeted journos

Russell Tice has dropped another bombshell. More than two years after he leaked the existence of the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program to the New York Times in late 2006, Tice says warrantless wiretaps specifically targeted journalists and news organizations - all day, every day. The original outrage over the warrantless …
Burke Hansen, 25 Jan 2009
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California Academy of Sciences: A new lease on life

The grand dame of natural history museums in the American west gave a sneak peak to the press last week, after a multi-year green reconstruction and all-around face lift. The results are impressive: One of the ten largest natural science museums in the world, San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences has - for the second …
Burke Hansen, 23 Sep 2008
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Senate approves FISA makeover and telco wiretap immunity

The Senate today passed the revised Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), offering blanket immunity to the telecoms giants for whatever spying activities they conspired in, smothering ongoing litigation against the companies and for all intents and purposes burying forever whatever unconstitutional surveillance …
Burke Hansen, 09 Jul 2008
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Congress still afraid to define 'internet gambling'

The intellectual haze that envelopes American internet gambling policy thickened the past week, as lawmakers failed to define what exactly constitutes "unlawful" internet gambling. As absurd as it sounds, two years after the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), Congress still can’t make up its …
Burke Hansen, 01 Jul 2008
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Feds urge court to dismiss lawsuit protecting life on Earth

The US government has asked a court to throw out a lawsuit that seeks to stop the world from ending. Late last week, federal lawyers along with other defendants asked for summary judgment in a lawsuit designed to halt the start-up of the most powerful particle accelerator yet built. The lawsuit, which was filed in Hawaii last …
Burke Hansen, 30 Jun 2008
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Congress bails out telcos for illegal snooping

Congress has largely capitulated to White House demands for widespread immunity for the telecoms industry, the New York Times reported on Thursday. Although Congressional Democrats claimed the compromise reached between Democrats and Republicans as a victory for the rule of law, the real winners in this action are the telecoms …
Burke Hansen, 20 Jun 2008
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FISA warrants on a roll - but who needs a warrant?

Comment The Honorable Richard B. Cheney...Dear Mr. President..... Drum roll, please. It's like the Price is Right for conspiracy theorists, the annual release to Congress of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) statistics. How many this year? Did the court tell the spooks to pound sand even once? The FISC is the secretive …
Burke Hansen, 02 May 2008
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No-fly list grounds US Air Marshals

One aspect of the American response to air safety in the year after the September 11 attacks that generated relatively little controversy was welcome expansion of the Federal Air Marshal program - other than some concerns about what kind of weapons could be used safely within a pressurized cabin, really, who could complain about …
Burke Hansen, 02 May 2008
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Surveillance immunity bill for telecoms tries livin’ la vida loca

Only the paranoid survive. But which ones - the kind who choose to live in solitude, à la Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, patiently loading and unloading their weaponry to protect themselves from the dystopian techno-state? Or the kind living in Washington, who yearn for proto-totalitarian surveillance authority, all the better to …
Burke Hansen, 13 Mar 2008
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EU investigates DOJ internet gambling tactics

The European Union launched an investigation today into discriminatory trade practices by the United States in the internet gambling industry, according to a press release from the European Commission. The move could pave the way for a formal complaint with the World Trade Organization. "The U.S. has the right to address …
Burke Hansen, 11 Mar 2008
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US.gov disappears European-owned Cuba websites

Let's see this Treasury Department list again... Aiman Al-Zawahiri....Radovan Karadzic....Alexander Lukashenko.... ah, Tour & Marketing International. Steven Marshall, the owner of T&M and affiliated websites such as www.cuba-hemingway.com, www.cuba-oldhavana.com, and www.cubanculture.com, is a British travel agent with an …
Burke Hansen, 05 Mar 2008
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Google absolved of 'crimes against humanity'

Shuka-shuka-shuka-shuka-shuka. Black helicopters were spotted over Scranton, Pennsylvania last week, as Dylan Stephen Jayne saw his civil rights lawsuit against Google flushed once and for all down the proverbial toilet. As some may recall, Jayne had an epiphany back on September 16th, 2007, after he discovered that his …
Burke Hansen, 19 Feb 2008
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FBI screwed up, spied on entire email network

The FBI on Friday revealed that human error led to surveillance of an entire email network back in 2006, rather than the single email address approved by the secretive court which approves domestic wiretaps and other forms of e-surveillance. Although the alleged mistake came to light in an Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) …
Burke Hansen, 18 Feb 2008
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Rendition lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary tossed

The American judicial system handed another victory to executive power today, as a federal court judge in San Jose threw out a lawsuit filed against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen for its involvement in the CIA's extraordinary rendition program. The lawsuit concerned five individuals who claimed to have been kidnapped by the CIA and …
Burke Hansen, 14 Feb 2008
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Feds bat for Boeing in rendition lawsuit

The US government argued vehemently yesterday in District Court that government contractors engaged in confidential activities are covered by the controversial state secrets doctrine to the extent that litigation would require disclosure of government secrets. The state secrets document is a common law doctrine that the …
Burke Hansen, 08 Feb 2008
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From crunching cans to TechCrunch

Comment Long before he was stroking our collective Web 2.0 consciousness, Michael Arrington, a Young Republican-type of guy from an affluent part of Orange County, studied economics at Claremont McKenna College in Southern California, and generally enjoyed the life of the beer-swilling collegian that many of us led. I know this because …
Burke Hansen 2, 06 Feb 2008
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Rendition lawsuit targets aerospace giant Boeing

Alone, in the middle of the night and nowhere, Khaled El-Masri discovered himself once again to be a free man. He had been left on a hilltop in Albania by his CIA captors, after nearly six months of torture in squalid detention at one of the CIA's black site prisons. The German citizen eventually sued the CIA and lost after the …
Burke Hansen, 24 Dec 2007
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FBI preps $1bn biometric database

"If someone steals and spoofs your iris image, you can't just get a new eyeball." Paul Saffo, technology industry observer Quality science fiction has often provided the prism through which we view, for good or ill, the effects of technological and scientific evolution on human life in all its moral and ethical disarray. No …
Burke Hansen, 24 Dec 2007
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US TKOs Antigua in bizarre WTO arbitration decision

The long-running dispute between little Antigua and the mighty US over the cross border provision of gaming services came to a head this morning, with the announcement of a US $21 mil award in Antigua’s favor. The amount was quite a bit less than the $3.4 bil demanded by the Antiguans, but considerably more than the $500,000 …
Burke Hansen, 21 Dec 2007